I had dinner with my friend Nadine tonight. Before we ate we listened to jazz, and while we shared a delicious pizza and a salad with walnuts, pears and blue cheese, we listened to Country, which is very fine music for driving across country from coast to coast. And then, while we were still drinking our wine, we switched to Classical (Nadine has eclectic tastes). It was a piece neither of us recognized, strange and alluring and full of images. I can see pictures, I said after awhile, and Nadine gave me a dreamy look and smiled, and said she could see them, too.
The composer was Gustav Holst, a Brit born in Cheltenham, England. The piece was his famous Planets, written during World War I. We were listening not to the familiar Mars or Jupiter sections, but to Uranus, the Magician, and Neptune, the Mystic, and they carried us away, far away from Nadine's hospital bed.